With the tragic shooting in Florida last month still fresh in our minds, you may be asking what the Ceres Unified School District is doing regarding school safety. When these types of incidents happen, it is only natural for parents, students and the community to wonder if such an event could happen here and how can we prevent it. I want to assure you that we do not take for granted the trust that you place in us concerning your students. Student safety is our top priority.
Immediately following the sad news from Parkland, Florida, we asked ourselves what actions we could take. We believe it is important to focus on those aspects of school safety over which we have control. To that end, we identified two areas of focus.
First, we need to be vigilant and watchful. If students, staff, or members of the community see something that seems concerning, they need to say something.
Second, we need to review all of our safety plans. We have started that process, working closely with police.
Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working with students to reinforce the message "see something, say something." It is critical that students who are feeling alienated or who are troubled be identified and receive help. We are fortunate to have funding that has allowed us to vastly expand our mental health services. If students need counseling, it is available, and we want to help. (Please contact your school site if you have a student in need.)
In the unfortunate event of a credible threat, we have School Resource Officers available to intervene and an excellent relationship exists between the Ceres Police Department and the school district. Along those lines, as mentioned, we have already met with Ceres Police and are reviewing our safety procedures. If we identify constructive changes, we will make them.
Please be assured that our campuses are safe. They are fenced with access through front offices. The police department has live access to our school site cameras. Our School Resource Officers and campus security are dedicated to protecting your students.
It is a privilege to educate your students, and we are thankful for the opportunity to work with you to do so.
Scott Siegel is the superintendent of Ceres Unified School District and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org